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M. S. Cohen

New York, NY USA | Member Since 2012

  • 45 reviews
  • 86 ratings
  • 0 titles in library
  • 26 purchased in 2015

  • My Mother Was Nuts: A Memoir

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 30 mins)
    • By Penny Marshall
    • Narrated By Penny Marshall
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    her life story going her humble roots in the Bronx to one of the most liked and respected figures in the entertainment business, also covering her marriage to Rob Reiner and relationships with Art Garfunkel, Carrie Fisher, and John Belushi, and her bout with lung and brain cancer in 2009, to Julia Cheiffetz

    M. S. Cohen says: "The audio performance should get an award!"
    "The audio performance should get an award!"
    Would you listen to My Mother Was Nuts again? Why?

    I'd listen to it over and over. Penny Marshall gives a terrific performance with nuances for off-hand comments like "Huh?" or "You know."
    You feel like she's talking just with you, not reading a book.
    But the part that touched me so greatly was when she talked about the end of her mother's life. You could hear the pain in her voice. So sweet. So real.

    What other book might you compare My Mother Was Nuts to and why?

    It's an autobiography like most others. Starts when she's young and moves on from there. But with her reading it, it soars to be much more.

    Have you listened to any of Penny Marshall???s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Never heard any of her other performances, but I'll definitely look them up to get them.

    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I listen to the book on my iPhone using the Audible application. I set it for 3X speed because I don't like to wade through books so slowly.
    But for this book I lowered the speed. It's a book I wish wouldn't end.

    29 of 29 people found this review helpful
  • Language and Society: What Your Speech Says About You

    • ORIGINAL (11 hrs and 48 mins)
    • By The Great Courses
    • Narrated By Professor Valerie Fridland

    In these 24 thought-provoking lectures, you'll investigate how social differences based on factors such as region, class, ethnicity, occupation, gender, and age are inseparable from language differences. Further, you'll explore how these linguistic differences arise, and how they both reflect and generate our social systems.

    M. S. Cohen says: "Nothing like the other Great Courses"
    "Nothing like the other Great Courses"

    At the beginning of this book, Professor Fridland asks us to listen to her voice and then imagine what she is. Old, young? Where is she from? Educated or not?

    From her speech, I got a 22 year old California sufer gal (for sure) with litter interests beyond shopping.

    Turns out she's older and from the south. But I got none of that.

    This book was a terrible disappointment. Not only does the professor sound like a college student, she put together a terrible course.

    Over and over she would say something like "And there are many words that these people use in ways no other society does." This screams for a "for instance" or example. But she gave them so seldom you would think they came out of her salary to insert.

    I wish I could return this book, but I fear I've kept it too long. (I kept trying to get through it, but couldn't get more than 15% of the way through.

    The idea of an audio book on language and dialects is a great idea that goes way beyond what print can do. Unfortunately, this book doesn't rise to the concept.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  • The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 16 mins)
    • By Dorothy Gilman
    • Narrated By Barbara Rosenblat

    Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. This first in the series sends Emily on her first case after she successfully persuades a skeptical CIA recruitment officer that she is the best person for the job.

    Barbara says: "Barbara Rosenblatt: THE Voice!"
    "Love the story and the character"

    How could I have never heard of Mrs. Pollifax? She's better than Miss Marple—more exciting and more fun!

    I immediately bought several more in the series.

    I kept seeing Meryl Streep in the title role as I figured this would be a terrific movie. Ooops, too late. There were two already. One with Rosalind Russel (totally wrong casting) and Angela Landsbury (a little better, but not as good as Meryl would have been).

    The narrator is wonderful except that every once in a while her Mrs. Pollifax turns into the granny in the Sylvester and Tweety cartoons.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Gone Girl: A Novel

    • UNABRIDGED (19 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Gillian Flynn
    • Narrated By Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media - as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents - the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter - but is he really a killer?

    Teddy says: "Demented, twisted, sick and I loved it!"
    "Predictable. Slow. Bad conclusion"

    I downloaded and listened to this book ahead of the Ben Affleck movie coming out soon. I like to have "read" the book before I go to see a movie. That way I can enjoy the original story on screen as well as see the changes to make it more dramatic.

    I can also find out if I should bother going to the movie.

    Am I glad I listened to this book because I won't be going to the movie.

    It's supposed to be a look at a modern marriage. With a terrific twist in the story. But the author's little surprises make the entire first third of the book fake.

    The story of an "innocent" husband protesting his innocence in the face of mounting evidence against him is so obvious and trite that I kept waiting for the twist that would make it all redeemable.

    The twists are there, but when they happen all they did was made me hate the characters.

    Other characters such as the father are written totally one-dimensional and the sister pokes in and out of the story as an afterthought.

    The idea of the book being told by the husband and wife is good and the performances of the man and woman reading it are great. But when the woman is supposed to sound like some of the men, she ends up sounding like a record playing too slow.

    I was particularly disappointed with—no angry at—the ending which is a cop-out. The author wrote herself into a corner and rather than resolve anything, she has the characters choose to do things they would never do.

    I can imagine how the movie will handle this book. In fact, the author has written her own cinematic twists into the book. These can only be as written so Hollywood would see what a great movie the book would make.

    The trailer for the movie is terrific. And really picks up the most exciting plot points in this book.

    But if you've seen the trailer, you don't have to listen to the book or see the movie.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • The Lost Continent: Travels In Small Town America

    • UNABRIDGED (10 hrs and 12 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By William Roberts

    Hardly anyone ever leaves Des Moines, Iowa. But Bill Bryson did, and after 10 years in England he decided to go home, to a foreign country. In an ageing Chevrolet Chevette, he drove nearly 14,000 miles through 38 states to compile this hilarious and perceptive state-of-the-nation report on small-town America.

    Rachel says: "There are better Bill Bryson audiobooks"
    "Written by Bryson's evil twin"

    I have listened to every one of Bryson's audio books here on

    I really like Bryson. He makes even the most mundane topics engrossing.

    And it's not that he completely hates America. A Short Walk where he talks about hiking the Appalacian Trail is wonderful and very positive.

    But in this early book his nastiness on American is not just palpable, it's suffocating.

    In addition, instead of Bryson's warm, folksy reading that I have come to enjoy, William Roberts's reading makes even warm thoughts on America come out snide and snarky.

    I pushed myself to listen to the whole thing so I would feel entitled to write a review.

    But if I could, I would have rewound the tape to erase it from my brain.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Made in America

    • UNABRIDGED (18 hrs and 13 mins)
    • By Bill Bryson
    • Narrated By William Roberts

    In Made in America, Bryson de-mythologizes his native land, explaining how a dusty hamlet with neither woods nor holly became Hollywood, how the Wild West wasn't won, why Americans say 'lootenant' and 'Toosday', how Americans were eating junk food long before the word itself was cooked up, as well as exposing the true origins of the G-string, the original $64,000 question, and Dr Kellogg of cornflakes fame.

    John says: "Bryson Not Reading Makes For a Rare Fail"
    "Bill Bryson's evil twin wrote this book"

    I'm so glad I didn't stumble on this book as my first Bryson. What a nasty, arrogant, bigoted, nasty (did I already say nasty?), smarmy man wrote this book. If this had been my first Bryson book I would never have bought another.

    Bryson, originally from Iowa, came back to America after two decades living in England and decides to drive around. Everything he sees, and everywhere he goes disappoints him. Food is greasy, gooey blobs that squirt all over him. Towns are drab, dreary, or filled with tourist attractions that are overpriced and not at all good.

    Bryson tells us about his father and mother driving him and his siblings around when they were young. Bryson's father is a dolt going to the worst of the worst state parks and attractions along their trips. Bryson even manages to make his mother, a saintly woman who never criticizes Bill, into a stupid woman and a doormat. If I were Bryson's family and read this book, I would have told Bill to never get within 500 miles of the family and to change his name so no one would know they are related.

    Don't like the tone of this review? That's because I just finished the audio book and I've got his nasty attitude ringing in my ears.

    Unlike most of the Bryson books I've read, where Bill is the narrator, this book is narrated by William Roberts. Roberts sounds like a cross between a carney huckster and a school yard bully. I kept thinking that most of the nastiness would have been ameliorated had Bryson been the narrator. ... But I doubt it. Williams does nothing to make the book less nasty. But I suspect he was reflecting the nasty attitude in the book.

    Read any other Bryson book written after 2000. Bill's a much nicer man then.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Death at Wentwater Court

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 37 mins)
    • By Carola Dunn
    • Narrated By Bernadette Dunne
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    This first installment of a cozy mystery series transports listeners back to the bygone era of 1923 Britain, where unflappable flapper and fledgling journalist Daisy Dalrymple daringly embarks on her first writing assignment, and promptly stumbles across a corpse.

    Gareth Morgan says: "Wentwater Death"
    "Stuffy with a very disappointing ending"

    I bought two Daisy Dalrymple books hoping for something as good as Kerry Greenwood;s Phryne Fisher mysteries. I was quite disappointed.

    The book cover would have you believe Daisy is similar to Phryne with short, bobbed, black hair. But that is hardly how she is described. And there is none of the decco air shown on the cover. Instead the characters are horribly 19th Century stuffy.

    The mystery is convoluted and I found myself not really caring who the murderer was.

    But without giving away the plot, I was horribly disappointed with the ending. This is NOT the way an amateur detective is supposed to behave. And it is NOT the way a Scotland Yard inspector would behave.

    It was hard for me to start the second book as I couldn't trust Daisy's behavior.

    Meanwhile, the narrator's breathy style is unnerving. And she has given Daisy a very little girl voice. With no feeling of being a grownup.

    I'm giving up on the series.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Cocaine Blues

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 50 mins)
    • By Kerry Greenwood
    • Narrated By Stephanie Daniel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    It's the end of the roaring twenties, and the exuberant and Honourable Phryne Fisher is dancing and gaming with gay abandon. But she becomes bored with London and the endless round of parties. In search of excitement, she sets her sights on a spot of detective work in Melbourne, Australia. And so mystery and the beautiful Russian dancer, Sasha de Lisse, appear in her life. From then on it's all cocaine and communism until her adventure reaches its steamy end in the Turkish baths of Little Lonsdale Street.

    Barbara M. Sullivan says: "A series that just gets better"
    "I'm totally hooked!"

    I started listening to the Phryne Fisher mysteries after watching the television series on Netflix. I was disappointed to find out the series was cancelled.

    So I decided to listen to the books.

    I'm up to book 17 and expect to finish the series in a month or so.

    The books are different from the TV shows, but not disappointing. The stories are complex and fun. Phryne is more sexual than the TV show and travels all around Australia.

    The narrator, Stephanie Daniels, is one of the best I've ever listened to. She does so many variations of English dialects: cultured British, Australian, Cockney, Irish, Scottish, the insanely difficult Welsh, as well as a myriad of Russian, Polish, Austrian, German, French, and (gasp!) even Yiddish!

    The books, especially Ms. Daniels, have done something I never would have expected—gotten me to forget losing the TV series.

    I'm posting this in the first book because I can't be expected to keep writing the same review for all the books in the series.

    (PS: I'm such a nut for the series that my phone ringtone is the first few bars of the TV show theme.)

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Modern Scholar: Visions of Utopia: Philosophy and the Perfect Society

    • UNABRIDGED (8 hrs and 19 mins)
    • By Fred E. Baumann

    Professor Fred E. Baumann looks at what some philosophers have had to say on this subject, mostly in the form of stories about utopias. Five are written by great philosophers and the last by a challenging, nearly contemporary American scholar. All have exerted great influence on the history of thought or have expressed influential currents of thought. Professor Baumann's lectures not only examine these texts, but also address the results of attempting to put these utopias into practice.

    M. S. Cohen says: "Not at all what I had hoped for"
    "Not at all what I had hoped for"

    I was hoping for a study of the various literature of utopian societies: Brave New World, 1984, Shangri-la, etc.

    Instead this is a study of philosophers comments and debates on utopia.

    It's interesting, but not what I wanted.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 42 mins)
    • By Richard Dawkins
    • Narrated By Richard Dawkins, Lalla Ward
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous evolutionary biologist, presents a gorgeously lucid, science book examining some of the nature’s most fundamental questions both from a mythical and scientific perspective. Science is our most precise and powerful tool for making sense of the world. Before we developed the scientific method, we created rich mythologies to explain the unknown. The pressing questions that primitive men and women asked are the same ones we ask as children. Who was the first person? What is the sun? Why is there night and day?

    Connie says: "Audio version is superb for us grown-ups"
    "It's a science textbook for pre-teens"

    The sub-head "How we know what's really true" led me to believe the book would be about how to refute and rebut arguments from the religious right on the validity of the Bible, etc.

    Instead it's a rather dull science textbook written for pre-teenagers.

    And unfortunately the woman's voice and intonation makes it seem that she is speaking to someone who doesn't understand English.

    I like Hawkins, but not this.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Shall We Tell the President?: Kane & Abel, Book 3

    • UNABRIDGED (7 hrs and 17 mins)
    • By Jeffrey Archer
    • Narrated By Lorelei King
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready

    Florentyna Kane has finally become the first woman president in America. But on the very day that she is sworn into office, powerful forces are already in motion to take her life. The FBI investigates 1000s of false threats every year. This time, a reliable source has tipped them off about an assassination attempt. One hour later, the informant and all but one of the investigating agents are dead. The lone survivor: FBI Special Agent Mark Andrews. Now, only he knows when the killers will strike. But how can he alone unravel a ruthless conspiracy - in less than one week?

    M. S. Cohen says: "Recorded in 2013, but WRITTEN in 1977"
    "Recorded in 2013, but WRITTEN in 1977"

    It's not a terrible book, but not great. But I spent a long time at the top of the book trying to understand why FBI agents always carried 20 quarters for pay phones. And no one seemed to include Reagan as part of Presidential assasination history.

    God, things have really changed since 1977. And much of the book feels dated because of it. Even the plot against the President is dated.

    Also, I wish someone was a little more careful with details of the recording. Senator Birch Bayh name was pronounced "Bye" not "Bay."

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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